Reading DrudgeReport, World Net Daily, The Guardian will make you dumb


Wnd

Wnd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

….just like watching FoxNews.  You can’t expect to get a grasp of what’s going on in the real world because media such as these have an agenda to distort reality in order to effect American policy against or for a certain segment of the population.  However, in the case of Drudge’s latest blatant distortion, there’s no doubt to whom it was aimed.

Report: ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ starts crucifixions was the headline on a recent Drudge page earlier this week and the imagery is enough to make one gasp out of horror and revulsion…..however it was not true.  None of it.  Drudge collects news headlines and posts them on his web page; he usually posts those stories that interest him or have the slant which he believes in which means he is not that concerned with authenticity as much as spin.  He draws on his pool of sources,  and the one he used for the story line above is the wildly insane World Net Daily . WND as it is known is a stubborn outlet that  clings to its prejudices and bias until the very end and this story of supposed crucifixions is no different, but nonetheless false and all hinges on ONE shadowy news source that started it all.

WorldNetDaily, and other sites that are reporting the story, all trace the claim of multiple Arabic sources to a Jewish web site called algemeiner, which has published its own highly-trafficked articleon the subject. Algemeiner, like the cited Arabic sources, in turn bases its claims on reports from Sky News Arabic — a recently formed joint venture between BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp. Sky is supposedly the original source on the story, everyone agrees. Yet neither algemeiner nor WND nor any of the other sources supply the original Sky reporting that purportedly outlines the facts…..According to Fares Ghneim, a Sky communications official, the crucifixion claim “began on social media. It started getting pick-up from there and eventually reached us.”

Our reporters came across reports of the alleged crucifixions and a story very briefly appeared on the Sky News Arabia website,” he added. “The story — which was taken down within minutes — was based on third-party reports and I am not aware that any of our reporters said or confirmed anything along the lines of what is quoted in the article [by WorldNetDaily] … What’s unclear is where websites in North America got [the] Sky News Arabia bit from. As mentioned [previously], none of our correspondents confirmed this issue or commented on it. Clearly there is an intermediate source the websites got the info from, but as of yet we haven’t been able to identify it.”

Other outlets have come out and said there is no truth to the fiction planted by WND and others of similar ilk but in the time the story has been debunked, WND has come out again, double downed, to try to further authenticate its story this time removing one source that links to the SkyNews Arabic rumor and replacing it with another but adding nothing to the already debunked narrative. Such stories gain traction because of the dexterity of a writer who can persuade people to believe what they write.  If media outlets  have an unscrupulous writer an unsuspecting public can be steered in any direction the outlet wants to take it.

 

Such is the case with Joshua Trevino, the newest member for The Guardian.  The Furkan Doganstory is who Joshua Trevino is as much as why did The Guardian hire him and who he is, apart from his employment history, is someone who wrote that it was “cool” with him if the Israelis shot the participants in the 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla because it, the Flotilla, was no different than Nazis. About American Furkan Dogan who was killed by the Israelis in the raid, Trevino had this to say, ‘Make no mistake: in choosing to aid Hamas on the , Furkan Dogan raised his hand against his country. His fate was deserved.’ and this, ‘There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them’.  Yet, The Guardian, the third most popular news site on the internet has chosen to keep Trevino employed despite having this record of his really homophobic writings available for the world to see.  Contrast The Guardian’s cavalier attitude with that of Holyrood Magazine which  fired firebrand George Galloway after he sparked protests by suggesting WikiLeaks campaigner Julian Assange had been accused of no more than bad “sexual etiquette”.  One should expect therefore that The Guardian will have articles written by Trevino or others that will echo the racist attitudes of previous Trevino musings and possibly be passed on as fact in much the same way as WND has done with its “story” on mass crucifixion and the public will be none the wiser for the deception.  Indeed, one must expect such a scenario will happen because we know The Guardian has at least one writer who  has a definite predisposition to such writings. In an interesting  twist of irony, The Guardian is now the home of prolific writer Glenn Greenwald so my advice would be don’t read anything written by The Guardian, EXCEPT Greenwald’s articles.  Otherwise, the integrity of The Guardian has been seriously damaged with their embrace of someone who calls for the extra judicial murder of people who are engaged in lawful and supposedly protected protest in most places of the civilized world.

The DrudgeReport, World Net Daily, and The Guardian, along with the omnipresent FoxNews should be on your list of media to be ignored, otherwise you’re likely to not only be misinformed but misled.

 

Zip, zero, nada….


Patch of New York City Police Department

Patch of New York City Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

That’s what the New York City Police Department’s six year investigation, read spying, on American Muslims (it should be noted this spying took place in places outside of New York city) turned up in terms of terror suspects, indictments, cases, leads, you name it.

 

In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloging mosques, the New Yorkpolice department’s secret demographics unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday.

The demographics unit is at the heart of a police spying program, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and cataloged every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.

Police hoped the demographics unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism. And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they’d know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.

But in a 28 June deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, assistant chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case.

“Related to demographics,” Galati testified that information that has come in “has not commenced an investigation.”

The NYPD is the largest police department in the nation and mayor Michael Bloomberg has held up its counterterrorism tactics as a model for the rest of the country. After the Associated Press began reporting on those tactics last year, supporters argued that the demographics unit was central to keeping the city safe. Galati testified that it was an important tool, but conceded it had not generated any leads.

“I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from a demographics report, and I’m here since 2006,” he said. “I don’t recall other ones prior to my arrival. Again, that’s always a possibility. I am not aware of any.”

Galati, the commanding officer of the NYPD intelligence division, offered the first official look at the demographics unit, which the NYPD denied ever existed when it was revealed by the AP last year. He described how police gather information on people even when there is no evidence of wrongdoing, simply because of their ethnicity and native language.

As a rule, Galati said, a business can be labeled a “location of concern” whenever police can expect to find groups of Middle Easterners there.

Galati testified as part of a lawsuit that began in 1971 over NYPD spying on students, civil rights groups and suspected communist sympathizers during the 1950s and 1960s. The lawsuit, known as the Handschu case, resulted in federal guidelines that prohibit the NYPD from collecting information about political speech unless it is related to potential terrorism.

Civil rights lawyers believe the demographics unit violated those rules. Documents obtained by the AP show the unit conducted operations outside its jurisdiction, including in New Jersey. The FBI there said those operations damaged its partnerships with Muslims and jeopardized national security.

In one instance discussed in the testimony, plainclothes NYPD officers known as “rakers” overheard two Pakistani men complaining about airport security policies that they believed unfairly singled out Muslims. They bemoaned what they saw as the nation’s anti-Muslim sentiment since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Galati said police were allowed to collect that information because the men spoke Urdu, a fact that could help police find potential terrorists in the future.

“I’m seeing Urdu. I’m seeing them identify the individuals involved in that are Pakistani,” Galati explained. “I’m using that information for me to determine that this would be a kind of place that a terrorist would be comfortable in.”

He added, “Most Urdu speakers from that region would be of concern, so that’s why it’s important to me.”

About 15 million Pakistanis and 60 million Indians speak Urdu. Along with English, it is one of the national languages of Pakistan.

In another example, Galati said, eavesdropping on a conversation in a Lebanese cafe could be useful, even if the topic is innocuous. Analysts might be able to determine that the customers were from South Lebanon, he said, adding, “That may be an indicator of possibility that that is a sympathizer to Hezbollah because Southern Lebanon is dominated by Hezbollah.”

After the AP began reporting on the demographics unit, the department’s former senior analyst, Mitchell Siber, said the unit provided the tip that ultimately led to a case against a bookstore clerk who was convicted of plotting to bomb the Herald Square subway station in Manhattan. Galati testified that he could find no evidence of that.

Attorney Jethro Eisenstein, who filed the Handschu case more than 40 years ago and questioned Galati during the deposition, said he will go back to court soon to ask that the demographics unit be shut down. It operates today under a new name, the zone assessment unit. It recently stopped operating out of state, Galati said.

“This is a terribly pernicious set of policies,” Eisenstein said. “No other group since the Japanese Americans in World War II has been subjected to this kind of widespread public policy.”

Dozens of members of Congress have asked the justice department to investigate the NYPD. Attorney general Eric Holder has said he was disturbed by the reports. But John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, has said he is confident the NYPD’s activities are lawful and have kept the city safe.

Is anyone concerned with how much all of this cost the taxpayer?  No matter what the investment was the return worth the money it cost?  Why hasn’t Congreeman Peter King of NY asked these questions during a Congressional hearing….or better yet, why haven’t any of the hearings he held led to the NYPD questioning or indicting anyone?  We have been bamboozled America! It’s time to stop this madness.

 

The latest alteration to the hate campaign advertisement


First there was this

then this

and now this

Keep them coming America.  It’s free speech and it’s constitutionally complaint!

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A comment is needed for this latest Islamophobic display


When I saw this the first thing that came to mind was the poor, ignorant people responsible for this “display” probably were including traffic tickets received by the Muslims who live in their area.  I wasn’t too far off

Factually, the number of “*19,250 Islamic attacks (*and counting)” is a purposeful fabrication….this so-called “Islamic Terrorism ticker” that gives us the oddly precise round number of 19,250 is taken from the anti-Muslim website “The Religion of Peace” (TROP)

Many of the attacks listed by TROP relate to nationalist insurgencies, such as the conflict involving Baluchi nationalists seeking independence from Pakistan. Some of the attacks listed by TROP are in fact crimes committed by Muslims or people with Muslim sounding names that have nothing to do with Islam or terrorism, such as honor killings, the killing of local policemen, petty assault, etc.

In other words, the people who come up with these figures have managed to include everything that was ever done by someone with a Muslim sounding name as terror related and I may not be too far off in wondering if traffic tickets have been included in the mix.  I’m a bit conflicted however, to read that the people who are obliged to post such displays acknowledge they are offensive but run them because of free speech requirements in place in society.  They have come up with an answer  to assuage their conscious by saying they will donate profits from the ad to education campaigns against discrimination.  May I suggest they give such proceeds to CAIR or any other Muslim organization in their area who in turn will produce and organize  the education campaigns.  With such a stipulation attached to the airing of such displays there’s no doubt in my mind they will cease to appear on the American landscape.  Does anyone have the courage to propose such a thing to the voices of hatred and bigotry?

Eid Mubarak-For some this means 30 days of fasting


It all started with my tweet on Thursday evening that said

#EidAlFitr falls on Sunday, says UAE astronomy expert I don’t want to stoke the sighting vs calculations argument, fyi http://tinyurl.com/cszdjtz

and the article linked to was rather detailed and explicit in its explanation at how the end of the month of fasting is arrived.  And no, I really don’t want to rekindle the calculations vs. sighting debate that ravages the Muslim world on the occasion of the two biggest celebrations of the Muslim calendar.  The determination for when to start and end the month should be one made by the community as much as by consensus of the world-wide Muslim community.  There really is no such thing as a pan-Islamic organization or movement despite what the Islamophobes may say or think.

I have noticed however, that a lot of  Muslim communities like to tie their observance of these two Eids with the countries in the Arabian peninsula for reasons I don’t entirely understand but for those of you who do, then this is the definitive announcement for you for Eid al-Fitr for 2012.  Eid will be observed on Sunday, August 19 in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  No doubt the other GCC countries in the peninsula will mark their celebrations on the same day, although there is no official announcement to that effect as of the time of this post. It’s also important to note some where in the global community Muslims may decide to celebrate Eid on Saturday, 18 August or on Monday, 20 August and  to them this message is the same.  To the millions of Muslims fasting and waiting for the Eid celebration let me congratulate you on completing an arduous task at a very difficult time of the year.  I hope it was spiritually rewarding for you and equally important I hope that your prayers and fast are answered and accepted.

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Evergreen Cemetery

3401 West 87th Street,

Evergreen Park, IL 60805.

An appropriate metamorphisis


Islamophobe Pamela Geller and her minions are at it again with their attempts to demonize and dehumanize Muslims by having the public transportation system of San Francisco display the sign below

 

The words come from an Ayn Rand quote

If you mean whose side should we be on: Israel or the Arabs? I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages

It’s clear from this quote where Rand’s head was; she was an atheist Zionist who eschewed faith but promoted racism and Geller seems to follow in her footsteps.  It’s interesting to note that the Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is also an admirer of Rand claiming his interest in her is because of her views on capitalism and limited government, however one cannot help but wonder how long will it be before he also becomes  influenced by her racism and colonialism.

The appearance of Geller’s display on public transportation did not go unnoticed or unchallenged, but the San Francisco municipality deemed it met the standards of an ad to appear on their vehicles and so it has.  However, it hasn’t gone completely unchallenged.  Someone has seen fit to edit the message appropriately enough to drive home the point that Geller most likely did not have in mind. I like it…it’s graffiti that sends a clear message, and I applaud the “artist” who rendered it so.  It’s all about free speech.  Hat tip to   @ZahraBilloo  on Twitter

 

Memory hole material-Muslim Americans are not extremists and don’t support it


Muslim Americans

Muslim Americans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite news and opinions to the contrary, Muslim Americans are just as normal as any other American citizen and NOT inclined to the violence we are all told they engage, but the negative image of Islam is  not for lack of trying.  Pundits have been pounding the message that Muslims in America are a threat to the American fabric ad nauseam; public officials have jumped on the bandwagon with congressional hearings and campaign speeches that are simply demagoguery that have lead to violence against Muslims or those who were mistaken for Muslims.  However, the facts do not support these rather erroneous conclusions.  Rather they point to an entirely different conclusion altogether. (The emphasis in red is mine)

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, a comprehensive public opinion survey finds no indication of increased alienation or anger among Muslim Americans in response to concerns about home-grown Islamic terrorists, controversies about the building of mosques and other pressures that have been brought to bear on this high-profile minority group in recent years. There also is no evidence of rising support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans.

On the contrary, as found in the Pew Research Center’s 2007 survey, Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism by much larger margins than most Muslim publics (countries) surveyed this year by the Pew Global Attitudes Project. And majorities of Muslim Americans express concern about the possible rise of Islamic extremism, both here and abroad.

…..Nonetheless, Muslim Americans have not become disillusioned with the country. They are overwhelmingly satisfied with the way things are going in their lives (82%) and continue to rate their communities very positively as places to live (79% excellent or good).

At a personal level, most think that ordinary Americans are friendly (48%) or neutral (32%) toward Muslim Americans; relatively few (16%) believe the general public is unfriendly toward Muslim Americans. About two-thirds (66%) say that the quality of life for Muslims in the U.S. is better than in most Muslim countries.

…..As in 2007, very few Muslim Americans – just 1% – say that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are often justified to defend Islam from its enemies; an additional 7% say suicide bombings are sometimes justified in these circumstances. Fully 81% say that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians are never justified.

A comparably small percentage of Muslim Americans express favorable views of al Qaeda – 2% very favorable and 3% somewhat favorable. And the current poll finds more Muslim Americans holding very unfavorable views of al Qaeda than in 2007 (70% vs. 58%).

….Opposition to violence is broadly shared by all segments of the Muslim American population, and there is no correlation between support for suicide bombing and measures of religiosity such as strong religious beliefs or mosque attendance. Yet opposition to extremism is more pronounced among some segments of the U.S. Muslim public than others.

….

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Muslim Americans endorse the idea that most people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard; just 26% say hard work is no guarantee of success. Among the general public, somewhat fewer (62%) say that most people who work hard can get ahead.

U.S. Muslims are about as likely as other Americans to report household incomes of $100,000 or more (14% of Muslims, compared with 16% of all adults), and they express similar levels of satisfaction with their personal financial situation. Overall, 46% say they are in excellent or good shape financially; among the general public, 38% say this. Muslim Americans are as likely as the public overall to have graduated from college (26% of Muslims vs. 28% among the general public). Because as a group Muslim Americans are younger than the general public, twice as many report being currently enrolled in a college or university class (26% vs. 13%). Similar numbers of Muslim Americans and members of the general public report being self-employed or owning a small business (20% for Muslim Americans, 17% for the general public).

When it comes to many other aspects of American life, Muslim Americans look similar to the rest of the public. Comparable percentages say they watch entertainment television, follow professional or college sports, recycle household materials, and play video games. About one-in-three (33%) say they have worked with other people from their neighborhood to fix a problem or improve a condition in their community in the past 12 months, compared with 38% of the general public.

When asked to choose, nearly half of Muslims in the U.S. (49%) say they think of themselves first as a Muslim, while 26% see themselves first as an American; 18% volunteer that they are both. In a 2011 survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 46% of Christians in the U.S. say they identify as Christian first while the same number identify as American first. White evangelicals are much more likely to identify first as Christian (70%).

The survey also finds that compared with Muslims elsewhere, Muslim Americans are more supportive of the role of women in society. Virtually all Muslim Americans (90%) agree that women should be able to work outside of the home. Most (68%) also think that there is no difference between men and women political leaders. These are not the prevailing views of Muslims in most predominantly Muslim countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

And on a key foreign policy issue, Muslim Americans are far more likely than Muslims in the Middle East to say that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that the rights of the Palestinians are addressed (62% say this; 20% disagree). In this regard, the views of Muslim Americans resemble those of the general public, among whom 67% say a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist while protecting the rights of the Palestinians; 12% disagree.

….Many Muslim Americans are highly religious: 69% say that religion is very important in their lives, and about half (47%) report at least weekly attendance at a mosque for prayer. Similarly, about half (48%) say they make all five salah prayers daily, and another 18% report making at least some salah daily.

….Overwhelming numbers of Muslim Americans believe in Allah (96%), the Prophet Muhammad (96%) and the Day of Judgment (92%). Yet the survey finds that most reject a dogmatic approach to religion. Most Muslim Americans (57%) say there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of Islam; far fewer (37%) say that there is only one true interpretation of Islam. Similarly, 56% of Muslim Americans say that many different religions can lead to eternal life; just 35% say that Islam is the one true faith that leads to eternal life.

What the study shows is American Muslims are engaged in their communities, optimistic about their future and the future of the country in which they live, have strong bonds to America and its way of life, eschew violence overwhelmingly, yet identify with their religion and are productive members of the society. I remember as a 9th grade student studying civics being told all of the characteristics above were examples of good citizenship, yet today despite having embraced life in America, Muslim Americans are condemned for the very attributes we hold dear.  Stop the hypocrisy America, you can do better than this!

The false notions of conservatives, tea partiers and the GOP


Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona

Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arizona passed  SB 1070 obligates police to make an attempt,  during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest”,to determine a person’s immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien amidst a lot of justifiable opposition to the measure. Of course it opens the door to racial profiling, despite what the proponents say and what happened to Briseira Torres is a testament to the lie

Recently, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office alleged Briseira Torres, a shy, 31-year-old single mom from Glendale, was here illegally and that Briseira Torres was not her real name.

She was accused of three counts of forgery, in part because her driver’s license had her real name on it, which the MCAO thought was bogus. Following her arrest, she was held without bond in Estrella Jail for 4 1/2 months.

Torres lost her home and car because she couldn’t make the payments as she endured Estrella’s harsh conditions, lousy food, and detention officers.

Worst of all, she was separated from her 14-year-old daughter, who stayed with Torres’ friend Amy Diaz while her mom was behind bars.

(Delia ) Salvatierra, a well-known immigration attorney, along with the aid of criminal attorney Antonio Bustamante and Johnny Sinodis, a counsel in Salvatierra’s office, went to battle on Torres’ behalf.

In the pile of paperwork they provided to the court, to the prosecutor, and to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was a silver bullet: a sworn statement from Arizona’s Office of Vital Records attesting to the legitimacy of documents on file for Torres.

Among these docs is Torres’ birth certificate, showing she was born August 14, 1981, in Avondale.

Salvatierra asked the court to remand the case back to the grand jury.

Judge Carolyn Passamonte did just this, noting in her minute entry that Torres’ long-form birth certificate was “clearly exculpatory evidence that should have been presented to the grand jury.”

The judge remarked that the documents on file with Vital Records had been “available to the state,” and in oral arguments, the prosecutor had to admit that he’d never bothered to pull the file and inspect it.

More troubling still was Passamonte’s observation that the MCAO’s lone witness, Detective Chris Oberly of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General, told the grand jury this:

In 1999, Vital Records discovered that Torres’ birth certificate, in his words, had been “falsely created” by Torres’ mother and so the department “canceled it.”

This was not true, according to Vital Records. Torres’ birth certificate never was canceled and remains as valid as the day it was issued.

Facing a hearing regarding Torres’ bond status that he was bound to lose, Deputy County Attorney Daniel Strange moved to dismiss the case “without prejudice,” meaning he could, hypothetically, bring back the charges at a later date.

In other words an American citizen was profiled and as a result asked to prove she was an American.   Her proof, legitimate and legal, was not accepted because someone thought based on how she looked she didn’t belong in America.  She was locked up in jail and subsequently lost everything she had. Despite the fact she was a lawful citizen and did everything she was required to do by law, she still lost her right to due process until the bitter end.  This is the justice of America’s conservatives and particularly the GOP.  This is simply not good enough America!

 

Speaking truth to power-Jimmy Carter


Former President Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter

I admire people who stick to their principles, and former President Jimmy Carter is one of those.  He has my deepest respect for the positions he takes, no matter how controversial or unpopular they are.  He came out in a NYT editorial to talk about human rights and the US government and what he writes today is the same thing he said when he was president 36 years ago.  However, many of his remarks are directed towards a Democratic administration that has mimicked its GOP predecessor in almost all aspects when it comes to citizenship and human rights.

Fortunately for many of us who believe in what Carter wrote and appears below, he supposedly will address the Democratic Convention.  What he will say this observer doesn’t know, but I certainly hope it’s the exact same message that appears below.  I can’t think of a better place to throw down the gauntlet to the Democrats to put the brakes on the slide towards abandonment of civil/human rights and I can think of no person with more integrity to say so than Carter.

THE United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.

Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.

While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people, and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile.

The declaration has been invoked by human rights activists and the international community to replace most of the world’s dictatorships with democracies and to promote the rule of law in domestic and global affairs. It is disturbing that, instead of strengthening these principles, our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress (the law is currently being blocked by a federal judge). This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.

In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications. Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate.

Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times.

These policies clearly affect American foreign policy. Top intelligence and military officials, as well as rights defenders in targeted areas, affirm that the great escalation in drone attacks has turned aggrieved families toward terrorist organizations, aroused civilian populations against us and permitted repressive governments to cite such actions to justify their own despotic behavior.

Meanwhile, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, now houses 169 prisoners. About half have been cleared for release, yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom. American authorities have revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers. Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of “national security.” Most of the other prisoners have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either.

At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.

As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the years.

 

If you want to know who are politicians’ favorite whipping boy, look no farther than American Muslims


Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

If you want to win election to Congress, demagogue the Muslim or the Shariah problem in America and you are a shoo-in to get elected.

Suburban Muslims are refuting claims made by Congressman Joe Walsh about the growth of “radical Islam” in the suburbs, saying instead that their religion is increasingly becoming a “punching bag” for Republicans.

“They took it very offensively,” Jamil Zara, General Secretary at the Midwest Islamic Center Masid Al-Huda in Schaumburg said of remarks Walsh made Wednesday at an Elk Grove Village town hall meeting. “It seems Republicans lately are doing this for the political gain. They make Islam a punching bag. They’re using Islam to scare people.”……..

In a statement, Walsh Thursday did not back down from the comments he made at the town hall. Instead, he said, “We cannot let political correctness blind us to reality. While most Muslims in America and around the world are as peace loving as the rest of us, we would be foolish to ignore the fact that there is a radical minority that simply wants to destroy America and the values that we stand for. … It is our responsibility as members of Congress to protect American families.”

I guess Walsh’s Muslim constituents aren’t considered American, or maybe he doesn’t want them to be?  After three years of ridiculous speculation whether the President is Muslim or even foreign, and further equally absurd conjecture of some sort of Islamic takeover of the government or the stealthy encroachment of Islamic law, shariah, in the US judicial system, ambitious politicians realize the path to success is to demonize a group of Americans and play to society’s fear and prejudices in order to succeed.  That’s call demagoguery, ‘seeking support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.’  Of course there’s no truth to or reason for this blatant lie; with the exception of 911 that happened over a decade ago, Muslims have not been the violent group on the verge of reeking havoc on America as politicians or media would have you believe, but in the absence of accurate reporting on political violence and the abundance of false and or misleading information about what American Muslims are supposed to have done, it has become easy for politicians like Walsh to erroneously assert the untruth. If a politician is dishonest about something as important as life and death and the rights of citizens of the republic about what else can they expected to be dishonest? What’s equally distressing is knowing that American politicians aren’t presenting them with clear choices of leadership and integrity  too many of the electorate  are willing to bet the aberrant behavior to “fudge” on the truth will only apply when politicians talk about Muslims and not when issues which directly affect them are up for discussion. Fat chance…and so confidence in Congress will continue to diminish because lawmakers haven’t been called on the lies they tell us about people or things we don’t like. Wake up America!

How the Right Wing bullied the Obama Administration and reinforced its racist agenda in government policy


President Obama promised change and in many cases it has been a part of his administration, but with regards to foreign policy vis-a-vis Muslims in America and Islam Obama and career civil servants in government have bowed to the prejudices of an American public towards Muslims and maintained a position that only Muslims in America are responsible for terrorism.  The Washington Post produced a startling piece on the Department of Homeland Security’s report  on Right Wing Terrorism in America and how that DHS in many cases walked back its own report and continued its almost exclusive focus on Muslims.  The article, Homeland Security Department curtails home-grown terror analysis, originally published in June, 2011 gives perspective to the reluctance found today by many to label acts like the Aurora, Colorado and Milwaukee, Wisconsin massacres as acts of domestic terrorism.

The Department of Homeland Security has stepped back for the past two years from conducting its own intelligence and analysis of home-grown extremism, according to current and former department officials, even though law enforcement and civil rights experts have warned of rising extremist threats.

The department has cut the number of personnel studying domestic terrorism unrelated to Islam, canceled numerous state and local law enforcement briefings, and held up dissemination of nearly a dozen reports on extremist groups, the officials and others said.

The decision to reduce the department’s role was provoked by conservative criticism of an intelligence report on “Rightwing Extremism” issued four months into the Obama administration, the officials said. The report warned that the poor economy and Obama’s election could stir “violent radicalization,” but it was pilloried as an attack on conservative ideologies, including opponents of abortion and immigration.

In the two years since, the officials said, the analytical unit that produced that report has been effectively eviscerated. Much of its work — including a digest of domestic terror incidents and the distribution of definitions for terms such as “white supremacist” and “Christian Identity” — has been blocked.

The threat of Islamic-related terrorism in the United States has by all accounts captured the most attention and resources at DHS since it was formed in 2002. But a study conducted for the department last October concluded that a majority of the 86 major foiled and executed terrorist plots in the United States from 1999 to 2009 were unrelated to al-Qaeda and allied movements.

“Do not overlook other types of terrorist groups,” the report warned, noting that five purely domestic groups had considered using weapons of mass destruction in that period.

Conservatives are very good at playing the victim card, that they are plundered, misrepresented and unfairly singled out, but it would appear based on the WashPo article that conservatives during the administration of a newly elected and popular Democratic president were able to get the Obama administration to abandon its own report on domestic terrorism and pursue, rather persecute Muslim Americans even though the statistics don’t support that policy.

A look at the acts of terrorism committed  on US soil by various groups between 1980-2005 show that only 6% of them were committed  by Muslims or affiliated Muslim groups.  The only other group lower was Communists at 5%.  Yet there exists this proclivity in modern day America to base policy on the minute minority of cases that appear before government while ignoring the overwhelming majority of cases that beg for policy review and follow up.  It is also the reason why acts like Aurora and Milwaukee can get swept under the rug by government and media because the perpetrators of those crimes don’t fit the profile that has been carefully crafted by xenophobic policy wonks with an agenda to advance and a budget to get appropriated.  For them it is far easier to sell fear and loathing against what is for now an unknown, strange, eccentric group of people than  it is for people who look and sound like us.  That the GOP is leading the way in this savage attack against Muslim Americans should come as nothing new.  Unfortunately, that a Democratic administration swept into office because people wanted “Change” has decidedly not brought about that change but continued the status quo is fraudulent.

More terrorism news you won’t find anywhere but here!


English: FBI agents from the Washington Field ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another terrorist plot has been thwarted by the FBI who arrested a NYC man because of his plans to kill a Pennsylvania bank’s employees.  First off, this bit of news goes to show you the federal government can monitor threats just fine, without the need of the New York city police department which has, when it comes to Muslims, decided to expand its jurisdiction to everywhere along the east coast of America. This bit of news also underscores the terrorist threat that lies within the shores of this great Nation that has nothing to do with or is not based on Islam and Muslims.

Michael Chung, 52, allegedly faxed a letter to a Pottsville, Pennsylvania branch of Sovereign Bank on Monday in which he cited the second amendment of the Constitution and threatened to kill workers at the bank.

“The 2nd Amendment to the National Constitution authorizes the use of deadly force to protect my interests as a national citizen,” said the fax, according to the criminal complaint. “I believe I have a basis to act in that manner.”

According to a law enforcement official, Chung told investigators he is a “sovereign citizen,” one of a group of people who reject government authority and resist paying taxes. The FBI monitors the “sovereign citizen” movement as a potential domestic terror threat.

Lest anyone forget this is the definition of terrorism from which Miscellany101 works

The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.

After the last two examples of domestic terrorism America continues her denial about the contributions she makes towards terrorism which began back in 2009 after the report that shook the world, entitled Right Wing Terrorism.  If there is any doubt about the backlash one faces when talking about America’s terrorism and especially terrorism fueled by conservative thought unrelated to Islam look no further than to this brilliant piece in Wired

in April 2009, (Daryl) Johnson warned that the election of the first African-American president, combined with recession-era economic anxieties, could fuel a rise in far-right violence. “DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities,” he wrote. And so began a brief media firestorm. Conservative writers feared that the DHS was demonizing — even, potentially, criminalizing — mainstream right-wing speech.

Stung, DHS responded by cutting “the number of personnel studying domestic terrorism unrelated to Islam, canceled numerous state and local law enforcement briefings, and held up dissemination of nearly a dozen reports on extremist groups,” the Washington Post reported in June 2009.

According to Johnson, his former team now consists of a single analyst tasked with tracking all domestic non-Islamic extremism. His database has been shuttered.

It’s obvious any act of violence that aims to influence public opinion, government policy or otherwise terrorize people is considered terror only if committed by Muslims even though that is NOT the definition crafted by  policy makers and law enforcement.  In an effort to get people on board with the idea of terrorism, a very broad definition was made, but in practice, even by the federal government headed by the first black president, terrorism is recognized exclusively on the ethnic, racial, and religious characteristics of the one(s) committing the act.  That is typical of America’s politicians reaping scorn on one group of Americans or another for political gain, which is why we here at Miscellany101 will continue to remind America of what she has committed to in writing and call a terrorist a terrorist even if he’s not Muslim.

 

Another homegrown massacre and the best analysis of why


Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Juan Cole’s Informed Comment blog has put forth the best take on the murder in Milwaukee of members of the Sikh community as an I’ve seen advanced.  America wants to forget this latest reminder of her violent nature, coming so soon after the massacre that took place in Aurora, but Cole nails down what it is that’s taking place with this latest episode of mass murder. Below is just an excerpt. Please take the time to read the entire article here.

We still have only rumors about Wade Michael Page, the gunman who walked into a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin near Milwaukee and opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon (weapons that should be illegal) on men women and children beginning to gather for a day of worship, singing and feasting…..

Page is said to have served in the military, discharged for misconduct in 1998.

He is said to have had a 9/11 tattoo.

He likely thought he was targeting American Muslims. He operated in an atmosphere of virulent hate speech against American Muslims. A discourse of Islamophobia has plagued the United States in the past decade, pushed by unscrupulous bigots in public life and by entire media organizations such as Fox Cable News and other media properties of billionaire yellow press lord Rupert Murdoch.

Among the hatemongers are Frank Gaffney, and his acolyte Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), Rep. Peter King (R-NY) Daniel Pipes, James Woolsey, Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson, John Bolton, and sometimes Rudi Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and others, most associated with the Republican Party. The push for hate speech against American Muslims is funded by a small group of billionaires through their foundations. Some of the Muslim-haters are connected to the US arms industry and are hoping for profits from further wars in the Middle East. Others are Israel-firster fanatics. Others are looking for a bogey man to scare Americans with, so as to convince them to vote against their interests, as they used Communism during the Cold War to convince ordinary Americans to give up their constitutional rights.

Page is said to have served in the military, discharged for misconduct in 1998.

He is said to have had a 9/11 tattoo.

He likely thought he was targeting American Muslims. He operated in an atmosphere of virulent hate speech against American Muslims. A discourse of Islamophobia has plagued the United States in the past decade, pushed by unscrupulous bigots in public life and by entire media organizations such as Fox Cable News and other media properties of billionaire yellow press lord Rupert Murdoch.

Among the hatemongers are Frank Gaffney, and his acolyte Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), Rep. Peter King (R-NY) Daniel Pipes, James Woolsey, Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson, John Bolton, and sometimes Rudi Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and others, most associated with the Republican Party. The push for hate speech against American Muslims is funded by a small group of billionaires through their foundations. Some of the Muslim-haters are connected to the US arms industry and are hoping for profits from further wars in the Middle East. Others are Israel-firster fanatics. Others are looking for a bogey man to scare Americans with, so as to convince them to vote against their interests, as they used Communism during the Cold War to convince ordinary Americans to give up their constitutional rights.

 

 

American Exceptionalism


Seal of the United States Department of State.

Seal of the United States Department of State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is how the term is defined according to Wikipedia

American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States is different from other countries in that it has a specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy.

America demonstrated that characteristic with this initiative

The US on Monday criticised France and Belgium for banning women from wearing face-covering Islamic veils in public, while warning of growing anti-Semitism and hostility towards Muslims in Europe.

The US State Department’s report on religious freedoms, researched in 2011 but released on July 30, 2012, warned that freedom of worship was being undermined across the globe — particularly in China and Pakistan.

Commenting on the report, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that more than a billion people worldwide lived “under governments that systematically repress religious freedom.”

“When it comes to this human right — this key feature of stable, secure and peaceful societies — the world is sliding backwards,” she said.

In Europe there was “growing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiment, and intolerance toward people considered ‘the other’,” according to the report, which also complained of a “rising number of European countries, including Belgium and France, whose laws restricting dress adversely affected Muslims and others.”

There is no equivocation in the US report and its recommendations, and it spares no one even its allies, instead taking the position of America’s founding fathers of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Supposedly these are the same ideals of our allies, notably France, but in practice it’s apparent equality and fraternity do not apply when it comes to its Muslim citizens.  America justifiably called France on its hypocrisy.  Everyone should never forget Europe has been the sight of two world wars, the last one we now applaud our participation in for fighting against the political and religious tyranny of Nazi Germany.  After finding the scale of that country’s genocide against European Jewry America has proudly proclaimed its fight was a noble cause to rescue Europe and the world from religious fratricide by a government that had its start with discriminating against its religious minorities in matters of dress and appearance.  Those countries outlined in the US report are today doing the same thing.  Let’s hope America’s demonstration of real leadership and initiative can avert such a catastrophe that seems to be all too characteristic of  Europe and for now not of us, the

US.